Merriam enters third act with Kimmel Center

    The Kimmel Center will now manage the historic Merriam Theater on the Avenue of the Arts in Center City. It is the fourth theater the Kimmel will be booking.

    The Kimmel Center just added a new theater to its stable of venues. It will now manage the historic Merriam Theater on the Avenue of the Arts in Center City. It is the fourth theater the Kimmel will be booking. The theater has been looking for new management for years.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090929pcmerriam.mp3]

    Ever since LiveNation – American largest booking agency – abruptly dropped the Merriam Theater in 2007, the theater owner has managed the venue itself, but only half heartedly. That owner is the University of the Arts, which always knew it was in the arts education business, not the theater management business.

    University president Sean Buffington says the deal with the Kimmel Center gives the University access to the theater for 8 weeks of the year, and the remaining time is given to the Kimmel.

    Buffington: What we get out of it is the assurance we have access to the space when we need access to the space, and don’t have responsibility of programming. We don’t feel that’s within our expertise. It’s the best of both worlds for us.

    A Kimmel Center spokesman said the 1800-seat theater will be used for both Kimmel Center Presents acts, and third-party bookings.

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